NHS Care Trust

Topics: Records management

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CHALLENGE:

Storing documents from different organisations in a logical architecture, and accommodating significant NHS reforms

SOLUTION:

Active and inactive documents are categorised and stored by department, with a scan-on-demand service also available

VALUE:

Full compliance with increased efficiency, improved service, and the flexibility to manage organisational change within the NHS


Client

This NHS Care Trust brings together health and social care to offer joined-up services to the 220,000 patients registered at GP practices in the borough.

Challenge

When the Trust was first formed, it took the opportunity to close legacy buildings and move staff into more efficient accommodation. In doing so, the Trust encountered document storage issues. Their Information Governance Manager explains: “We found massive amounts of documentation in places like cellars and attics. Accommodating those files in our new buildings would have been too expensive.”

Lacking the resources to set up its own records management organisation, the Trust sought an outsourced solution.

Solution

Iron Mountain was chosen because of its track record and long experience. Documents from different departments were moved to a secure Iron Mountain storage location, then categorised according to source. For example, children’s services records were treated as one category. Procurement codes were added, not only to assist in retrieval but also to aid in allocating costs to different departments.

The Iron Mountain Account Manager takes up the story: “Legislation like the Freedom of Information Act, together with an increasing tendency towards litigation, meant requests for document retrieval were exploding. That made strict storage disciplines even more crucial.”

To further improve response times, the document archives were split into active records in open-shelf storage and inactive records in boxes. Departments keep documents locally for some six months. Around two-and-a-half-years’-worth are kept by Iron Mountain as active records. Anything older is classified as inactive, although retrieval may be necessary. At present, there are 4000 active and 34,000 inactive files occupying 3500 cubic feet of storage space.

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